Generosity among Friends: Population Homogeneity, Altruism and Insurance as Determinants of Redistribution?

Altruism is an important omitted variable in much of the Political Economy literature. While material self-interest is the base of most approaches to redistri- bution (first affecting preferences and then politics and policy), there is a paucity of research on inequality aversion. We propose (1) that other-regarding concerns influence redistribution preferences and (2) that they are conditional on the identity of the poor. We will show that group homogeneity magnifies (or limits) the im- portance of altruism. In making these distinctions between the poor and the rich, the arguments in this paper challenge some influential approaches to the politics of inequality. Download Paper File